Compassionate City Charter

What is the Compassionate City Charter?

A community that recognizes that all natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, and love and loss occur every day within the orbits of its institutions and regular activities is a compassionate city. Its residents recognize that care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply a task solely for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility. (Karapliagkou, Aliki, and Allan Kellehear. “Public Health Approach to End Of Life Care: Toolkit.” Pg. 72-73. The National Council for Palliative Care. February 17, 2015.)

The Compassionate City Charter is a framework of 12 social changes that lead communities towards being compassionate cities. This is an international initiative that was released May 2015.

    1. Schools – Will have policies or guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
    2. Workplaces – Will have policies or guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
    3. Trade Unions – Will have policies or guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
    4. Churches and Temples – Will have at least one dedicated group for End Of life (EOL) care.
    5. Hospices and Nursing Homes – will have community development programs that focus on EOL care and will involve local area citizens.
    6. Museums and Art Galleries – will hold exhibitions on the experience of ageing, dying, death and loss or care.
    7. Our community will celebrate and highlight the most creative compassionate organization, event or individual(s) through an incentive scheme, for example a “Mayor’s Award.”
    8. Through various forms of media, our community will publicly showcase our local government policies, services, funding opportunities, partnerships, and public events that address our compassionate concerns. As well, all EOL services will be encouraged to share this material.
    9. Our community will work with local social or print media to encourage an annual city-wide short story or art competition to raise awareness of ageing, dying, death, loss or caring.
    10. All services and policies will demonstrate an understanding of how diversity shapes the experience of ageing, dying, death, loss and care.
    11. We will encourage and support institutions for the homeless and the imprisoned to have support plans in place for EOL care.
    12. Our community will establish and review these targets and goals in the first two years. Thereafter will add one new sector annually to our action plan.

    How Does this Tie into Current Plans and Goals?

    The Way Forward (TWF) Framework is a national plan for use at all levels of government. There are seven objectives required to achieve a system-wide shift in EOL care. Fifth on the list, creation of a caring community is the aim of this charter.

    How will this Change Palliative Care?

    This charter is a public health initiative that is designed to pool and highlight the already existing community resource so the residents and organizations know what exists. Also, it seeks to demystify death in hopes residents become more comfortable with talking and planning for death. The ideal outcome would be patients/caregivers who are better prepared for death as well as feeling they have autonomy over the process, which will lead to better mental health and quality of life for all involved.

    How Does this Relate to Current Agendas?

    Daily, it is highlighted that there is not enough medical support or funding, to provide good palliative care. This community initiative will provide more support to fill in the gaps the medical system cannot address. Also, lack of planning for this journey is another area of great concern and we know a big piece of this stems from people not being able to talk/plan for death.